If you're reading this you already have an idea that we, as parents, are trying to wrestle a bit of life out of the academics battlefield. Instead of giving in to the academics urge, I wanted to give you some tips of how to merge the two concepts -- teaching life skills while staying on pace with academics.
Tip 1 - School Supplies
- Give your kid a budget!
- Let them shop the aisles, all you need to do is the driving.
Tip 2 - School Clothes
- Again: give your kid a budget!
- Younger kids: have them pick and try on the clothes. Sit down with your child and plan a list of things they need -- shorts? pants? shirts? hair ties? coat? sweatshirt? Then go shopping. If you’re both walking into your shopping experience with a budget and an agenda, there’s a smaller chance your kid will be grabbing everything from the shelves.
- Middle/High School: drop them off at the mall and have them put clothes on hold till the end of the day. When you pick them up plan time to go back to the stores and purchase the clothes. They can keep track of what they have put on hold and decide later which things to really buy. These older kids should plan what they need before they go but gently ask if they've done that.
- Younger kids (preschool/elementary): these kids can plan and complete homework assignments on their own. LET THEM! If things are hard and they need help, let them know you are there to help, not to DO the homework. Have your child help select the area they will be doing their homework and what supplies they need.
- Older kids: Let them plan their homework schedule - when and where they do it. Before or after snack? Before or after dinner? With music on or off? Let their teachers be their judge of quality, not you, unless the teacher asks you to do this.
- If they need to buy supplies for a project make sure you are the driver, not the one doing the shopping. Use ENERGY DRAIN if they tell you at 9pm the night before something is due.
- Have them put their homework in their backpack. NO REMINDERS! They will remember to do it only when we forget. Use EMPATHY when they do forget.
- Have them make their own sandwich or main course. Yes, even a 5 year old should be able to make a PB&J or a ham sandwich.
- Allow your child to choose a fun, exciting lunchbox. If your kids are older, let them take a paper bag if they want to. It doesn't matter what they use;
what matters is that THEY plan what they are eating and that they remember to pack it and put it in their backpack.
- Let them choose what goes into the lunch box. Have lots of healthy options to choose from but THEY need to do the choosing.
- DON'T remind them to pack their lunch or to put it in their backpack! DO NOT!!! They will remember... only when we forget. :) Use EMPATHY when they forget. Use PROBLEM SOLVING when it becomes a repeating problem.
- Let them UN-pack their lunches and clean their lunch bags.
Enjoy the school year!